Wow for a “recovery week” that certainly was exhausting! We did a practice triathlon and hill repeats as a team and I swam and did 2 spin classes on my own. And I moved to a new apartment. Phew, I’m toast! Here’s a recap of the practice tri, my reflection on a year of doing triathlons, and some plant-powered eats!
“It’s better to say ‘I can’ and prove it than say ‘I can’t'” — my spin instructor before we did some sprint intervals. It stuck with me the whole weekend.
A Year of Triathlon
One year ago I did my first triathlon. It was an Olympic distance in beautiful Hawaii and I trained with a hugely supportive Team in Training group. I learned how to swim on that team with the help of Coach Nancy. I learned what transitions were, how to swim in open water while getting kicked in the face, and about my strengths, weaknesses, and dedication to accomplishing goals.
I re-read my race report from that first race and wow, it wasn’t particularly positive. I actually had a pretty rough experience. But I didn’t quit after Lavaman. I kept going because I knew that race didn’t reflect my training and hard work. I had to keep going to improve and to have the experience I deserved. And honestly, it’s been so much better since then.
It takes a little while to get the kinks worked out — transitions, eating timing and quantities, hydration amount, open water anxiety, sighting, drafting rules. A few months later I raced the Wildflower Long Course and things seemed to fall into place much better. Then at Barb’s Race Half Ironman I felt like a superwoman finishing with a pretty fast time. At that point I had a faster bike, aero bars, a better nutrition plan, more coaching, and more comfort in open water.
I’m so happy I stuck with triathlons and continue to challenge myself with new races and longer distances (6 months to Ironman!). I’m in great cardio shape, I’ve met tons of amazing people, and have continued to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (~$25,000 and counting). I have no clue what’s in store after Ironman but I have a feeling I’ll continue to do triathlons and other endurance events. They’re fun, healthy, social, and goal-oriented. If you’re interested in doing your first tri feel free to reach out to me anytime for advice!
And to my teammates who had a hard time at our practice triathlon on Sunday, don’t fret. It’s completely normal to have set-backs, and now you’ll have a better idea what to expect and how to overcome those obstacles. Stick with it!!
Sunday we did a practice triathlon consisting of a 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run which is pretty much an Olympic distance race. We met at Paradise beach at 7:45am and tried to stay warm in the 47 degree weather while we got our transition areas set up. Our coaches designed the day to be as close to race day as possible. They had racking bars for our bikes, we got our age and race bib number markered on our bodies, we all had the same color swim cap, they had photographers, course support, and even finish line tape! Major kudos to everyone that helped pull the event together — you did an amazing job!!
1 Mile Swim: The swim was a 3-loop course at Paradise beach in the cold Bay. I started by immediately filling water in my wetsuit and dunking my head to get my body numb; it was soooo cold!! Then we did a mass start. I was definitely back of the pack but that didn’t bother me. I just settled into a nice rhythm that I knew I could sustain. I’m getting better at sighting and I’m feeling 100x more comfortable in the open water.
26 Mile Bike: The bike was 3-loops of part of Paradise Loop, a very popular cycling route in the Bay Area. I’ve done this route many many times so I knew the ins and outs pretty well. I felt really strong but was frustrated by the rough road and the constant turns — it was hard to get into aero position. Oh well, I still did well and had fun. Any excuse to get on my bike is fine by me!
6 Mile Run: Felt really good on the run and held a pretty consistent pace the whole time. I didn’t cramp, I didn’t have any stomach issues, and I didn’t feel like I was bonking at all.
Food: 2 hours before the ‘race’ I had a cup of black coffee, 1 piece of gluten free toast with almond butter and a banana. I ate 6 clif blocks on the bike and 3 more on the run along with a bottle of Nuun and 2 bottles of water. Total race time was about 3 hours.
Overall: I was one of the last people out of the water (oops, really need to work on that swimming!) but one of the first to finish. Feeling really good at this point!
Note to self: figure out how to do multi-sport on the Garmin. Oh and you need more than 30 minutes to set up your transition area!
After the practice race we had a potluck barbecue complete with (veggie) burgers, pasta salad, fruit, hummus and tons of water. Great way to spend the sunny day! Go Team!!!
Hill Repeats with a View
It’s evenings like this where I have to pinch myself. Working out with great people at sunset overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the SF skyline. It really doesn’t get much better than this…
After our workout we had a nutrition clinic…and beer. It was great to learn about proper fueling not only before/during/after the race but also everyday. A few tidbits I learned:
- Why eat while you train? During long training sessions (>1 hour) you will improve performance, prevent fatigue, and reduce your chance of serious illness due to dehydration
- Training >1 hour? Drink 6-12oz every 15 min (varies for each person). Hotter and harder sessions require more fluids. Water is not enough and electrolytes must be incorporated into hydration.
- Sweat a lot or prone to muscle cramps? Try salt tablets
- How do you know if you’re drinking enough? Weight yourself before training. Keep track of how much you drank. Weigh yourself after training. The difference in weight before and after exercise should be <1.5% of your weight. For every lb lost over 1.5% of your weight increase fluid intake by 16oz during training. (e.g. On my last 10 mile run I “lost” 4 pounds on the scale which was all water and ~3% of my weight. This means I didn’t drink nearly enough and should think about better ways to hydrate to get those 32 extra ounces.)
- Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Eat and drink enough to avoid “bonking”.
- During training eat or drink at least 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour (30 grams = 1 gel)
Plants as Fuel
So what do I eat? Here’s a sampling of some plant-powered eats that I enjoyed this week and are pretty typical on a daily basis:
This Week’s Training Log
Sunday the 30th. Triathlon. Practice tri. 1 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6 mile run.
Friday the 28th. Bike. Spin class 1 hour.
Thursday the 27th. Swim. Recovery week swim. 1,150 yards.
Wednesday the 26th. Run. Hill repeats near Sports Basement / Warming Hut. 4.2 miles.
Tuesday the 25th. Run. Brick. 3.0 mile run @ 8:21/mile
Tuesday the 25th. Bike. Brick. Morning spin class 45 mins.
Monday the 24th. Yoga class 45 mins with emphasis on hip flexors
Thanks everyone. Swim. Bike. Run. Eat Plants.